my gratitude

A pressing cloud
time could open or lift

maybe a wind maybe a branch

in the path of a small bird,
her feet trembling,

to grasp just and dare hope
she will fly away and make useful,

a branch into a home.

Memory is my strength, the press
of air on a sea of golden leaves

and blaze of autumn a cane:
I will walk forever even when my feet

are broken birds like birds broken
beneath the lowest branches- to see

but not see they are gone, me
and others falling will keep falling

like a feather falls with no weight or rush but softly like wings rasp in the air.

Our hearts stay a cold resin, deep in the old oak, a wind nor a bird could lift

with song- but memory, a pressing cloud
barely touches and touches

every thing- and heralds every step.

erasure, the little prince

little prince

A seed blown from no-one knew where,
a new flower in the shelter of her green chamber

dressed herself slowly with four thorns:
“Let the tigers come with their claws,” 
she said, on the verge of naïve untruth.

Her inseparable grace
filled my heart with pity/

the little prince believed
he would never want to return,
“Goodbye,” he said to the flower

{who} made no answer but,
“I am a flower.”

The secret was revealed abruptly
far from his rose when
he arrived on our planet,

a sheep eats anything it finds in reach 
and the flowers believe
their thorns terrible weapons,

‘is the warfare between the sheep
and the flowers unimportant,’ he demanded?
all the little prince’s stars darkened
choked by his sobbing,

rarely a mountain changes position,
an ocean empties itself of waters,
but, the flower is in danger
of speedy disappearance.

“My flower is ephemeral,”
said the little prince to me
and went away thinking

of the sheep back home
he’d left tied to a small post.

Walking for a time upon a road
led to a garden all abloom with roses;
they all looked like his flower/

the universe obliged to pretend
a flower, unique in all the world
was a common rose.

He continued on,
climbing a high mountain
to see the whole planet

at one glance
sharpened like needles.

“Who are you?,” asked the little prince.
“I am all alone,” answered 
the pointed echo.

A fox found him some time later
sitting near an apple tree
who wanted only to be tamed:

the fox said, “Listen.
Be very patient and observe
the proper rites too often neglected,

sit in the grass and say nothing
for words are misunderstandings,

and sit a little closer every day . . .”

The little prince drew near the fox,
a fox like one thousand other foxes
so that they could become unique

in all the world to each other.

“One only understands the things
one tames,” said the fox.

And the little prince thought of the baobobs
specifically the catastrophe of them,
being trees as big as castles

like the heart is seized
with the desire to awaken,
and bores clear through with roots

being too small, like the planet
of the baobobs, splits in pieces.

And though he had found friendship
he still thought of a single rose
on a planet he no longer

knew a way back to.

Though the stars are beautiful
because of a flower
that cannot be seen

though a desert beautiful
that somewhere
it hides a well,

though, a sheep is in a box
in his drawings for her,

still the little prince yearned;
all-the-while true that all
stars in the sky were 

now abloom, thinking her
on any one of them…

to those who do not know,
confidence in the snake,
a little lonely in the desert,

can carry a person further
than a ship. The little prince
understood this very well

when thinking of his flower.

The story of the little prince ended
when he said to me, “I am going home,”

rushing headlong into an abyss.

“My star can be found above where
I came to the earth. Just like it is
with a flower that lives on a star

that all the stars are abloom for me,

my star will be somewhere there,
and you alone will have stars
that laugh,” he told me,

to be content to have been known.

There is nothing more fragile
on all the earth than 
the little prince with

eyes closed,

him extinguished by a wind,
a weathervane the wind
has forgotten.

Men raise five thousand roses
and do not find what they are looking for
in one single rose like him and I,

and do not wonder,
has the sheep eaten a flower.

Erasure of, The Little Prince by Antoine de-Saint Exupery


-for my most beloved friend, John Zajac. A sensitive, passionate, and incredibly intelligent being who as a gay teenager in the 90’s felt alone and lost. 

When I left for college, he would continue to battle years of drug abuse not having the resources he needed to cope with feelings of abandonment and being “other” in an unaccepting world. His pain eventually led him to an avoidable suicide. I wish he could have continued to hold a world of his own in his heart when the world outside was unkind, another laughing star to light up dark places. I will always believe in human rights, first. Human rights above religious belief, above money, above power. 

peculiar children

My cousin Doug and I
on the streets of Daytona,
Florida: he’s artistic,

hands me a deflated, red
balloon without a word and
takes out the camera- I

haunt dark streets
pinning his look to my
white, Keds with dirt/ later,

we scream in the attic
because we think there are ghosts

and he films it all, the way
I run out of the house and through
the surrounding woods like

something still chases
(he can keep up)

then we bang out some Hitchcockian
melody on the piano as our overture.

When it is too hot

sometimes he plays his guitar
in the room my mother grew up in
where all the family claims

an old man died terribly

who hid the liquor beneath the bed
and tripped down the spiral staircase
drunk, into the sunny kitchen.

And many mornings more, my grandmother
who still cooks three full meals a day
makes me cantaloupe with sugar on top

or cheesy grits, before I help her
by snapping the peas for dinner that night
or watch in anticipation if she is making

peach cobbler. My cousin was the first
of peculiar children I learned to see

why growing up in this family
when ways are strange and
strangers are friends

who could take us away.
We     like     black roses
though and sketched

constellations of our own in
the night before there
were words

so we could see, so we could speak.

love like life of stars

Young and drawing in light
‘to grow up,’ holds the
moon’s shadow, swallows
the sun, quickly,
and it’s better than soup
warming the lips/it

burns | move along
or maybe this burning
place will hold

to gravity of the
heart, a slumbering stone,
eyes like a cup

of black tea. But, a human
cares against common sense,
same way I like to sink

into nowhere and give
a world and give a name.

Credo.

I believe in the soft, distracted smile
turning my way and the girl who
draws vines on her white Keds
in permanent marker.
I believe in stately trees and turning
pages beneath their boughs
with searching hands.
The adept hand signing, “hello”
when there are no words to be heard
or knitting colorful yarns on
telephone poles. I believe
in gardenias that bloom between
the alley and the sun, the sounds
of Cohen from someone’s kitchen.
I believe god
is held in the mouths
of philosophers and children:
that beliefs are dangerous without
love and art is an act of goodwill.
I believe in ethics and the
responsibility of leadership but even more
in the resiliency of the human spirit
like a ghostly pounding heart
as we sleep.
I believe in the spaces between:
in pauses and think-backs and could be’s,
especially in “perhaps” and
I believe in the dog’s paw
that smells like sugar cookies
now that we are family.
I believe we should be careful
of words like, “inconvenience.”
I believe in the storytellers and song-
makers and especially in grandmothers
watching mothers turn the page.
I believe in simplicity of
needs: the hand that must be
held and the mouth that
must be fed. And, the
needs that go untended,
the boy clutching his teddy
as he dreams.
I believe in the untenable
breadth of the universe
and the starlit dust
inbetween it all. I believe
‘god’ is in the trees
and the wave tumbling
towards the shore and
the eyes of strangers.

epiphyte

We, built like river reeds

wrench the heart: holding on

who      root claws

upon rock & between crevice

like orchids hold the very air

they need/ somewhere above the jungle

where rain prefers to pass,

and must pull       pull hard

as feels unnecessary

when everyone says it should be easy;

but the air is thin

broken air.